It’s no surprise that those hardest hit by the hurricane that’s ripped across Texas over the past few days are poor, non-white, elderly, sick, and disenfranchised — basically, the people who’ve always needed extra help to get by, but who are now in true peril. Everything from disability to proximity to toxic gases being emitted by flooded oil refineries makes it a far greater challenge for these individuals to cope with the effects of the storm.
While the internet fumes over Joel Osteen’s role or lack thereof in the crisis, the unsung heroes who have had the most impact saving lives during Harvey include the same thankless groups that have always been doing the important work that needs to get done to transform and empower poor communities.
Texas Organizing Project is one such group. The 503c nonprofit organization, which advocates for the poor across the state, just launched the Hurricane Harvey Community Relief Fund to crowdsource donations for those most affected by the storm. Proceeds will go to first response, medical attention, healthcare, housing, and immigration services for the nearly 550,000 people living in poverty in Houston.
“It’s unfortunate, but we know that our most vulnerable communities will be the hardest hit and will not get the resources needed unless we fight for it, unless we organize those communities to demand justice,” the organization posted on Facebook on Monday.
Since 2009, Texas Organizing Project has used grassroots community and electoral organizing to push through reforms that strengthen poor communities, including convincing the state and local government to divert more funds to low-income Houston neighborhoods after Hurricane Ike to boost revitalization. Other past wins include raising voter engagement, persuading city officials in San Antonio to invest more money in safe streets and to clean up a toxic abandoned power plant in Houston, and launching a pilot program to reform school disciplinary programs that have contributed to the school-to-prison pipeline.
If you’re sitting at home safe and dry, wondering how you can help people in Texas right now, consider donating to the Hurricane Harvey Community Relief Fund. Rest assured, you’ll be helping those who need it the most. You can make a contribution here.